Saturday, October 11, 2008

Supreme Court Takes on Ten Commandments

The Supreme Court has begun its fall term and will take up a case involved the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. Pleasant Grove City, Utah is asking the high court to approve a decision it made to prevent a small religious group from adding their monument beside a Ten Commandments display in a public park. An appeals court ruled against the city, saying it violated the group's free speech rights. It said the city should either display all religious monuments donated by third parties or display none of the donated monuments.

Bible Course Switch

The Craig County, Virginia school board has decided to drop a Bible education course. The ACLU had complained that The Bible in History and Literature course, promoted by actor Chuck Norris, promoted Christian beliefs over other religions. Next year the district will add a course called The Bible and Its Influence which was put together by the Bible Literacy Project.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Funding-Raising Scam

There’s a scam in Columbus, Georgia involving a local church. Local media is reporting there are two men asking residents for money on behalf of the Columbus First Baptist Church. They claim a member of the church is facing surgery and a fund-raiser scheduled on her behalf. But senior pastor Jimmy Elder says the church is not involved in any such door-to-door fundraising.

Supreme Court on Bible Reading Case

Just because jurors heard a passage from the Bible is no reason a man convicted of murder and given the death penalty should be let off. That’s the opinion that will stand in the case of Jimmie Lucero. His lawyers had appealed to the Supreme Court over the issue. But justices on the High Court refused to consider the case. Lucero was convicted in the killing a couple in their 70’s and their 31-year-old daughter. During deliberations the jury foreman read Romans 13:1-6 to hold-out jurors who decided to change their vote. An Appeals court said it did not violate the man’s rights and was a "harmless error." The two jurors who switched their votes said it had no impact on their votes.

Anne Rice Memoir

The novelist best known for a best-selling vampire series has a new book out. Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice hit store shelves this week. In 1998, she returned to the Roman Catholic church after a 30-year absence. The long-time New Orleans resident left before Hurricane Katrina arrived and now lives in San Diego. Rice has written two novels about the young Jesus and now this memoir.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Publishing Bibles is Big Business

Bibles, testaments, hymnals and prayer books were a $795.2 million market last year. The Book Industry Study Group estimates the market will continue to grow and reach $823.5 million this year.

ORU Suit Nears Settlement

A lawsuit against Richard Roberts and his family may be settled soon out-of-court. The Associated Press is reporting that a mediation conference is scheduled in two weeks. The former Oral Roberts University's former president and his wife are accused of improperly spending school money on shopping sprees, home remodels and lavish vacations. Roberts stepped down from his position at ORU in November. The couples denies they did anything wrong. civil suit was brought by two professors who claim they were fired out after uncovering the financial and ethical wrongdoing.

Baptist School Allows Alcohol on Campus

Nashville’s Belmont University may have been founded by Baptists in 1951 as a alcohol free school but that changed with last night’s debate. The Christian school agreed to allow alcohol to be served at a hospitality tent for the news media.

In all, Belmont spent about $3 million, most of it on a temporary facility built on the school’s soccer field for news media covering the debate.

The third and final presidential takes place next week at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Donations by Household

Average household donation rank.
1. Utah
2. DC
3. Maryland
4. New York
5. Connecticut

46. South Dakota
47. New Mexico
48. Vermont
49. Maine
50. North Dakota
51. West Virginia
Source: Center on Wealth and Philanthropy


States with the highest rates of volunteer hours:
1. Utah
2. Nebraska
3. Minnesota
4. Alaska
5. Montana

States with the lowest rates of volunteer hours:
45. Arizona
46. New Jersey
47. Mississippi
48. Louisiana
49. Florida
50. New York
51. Nevada

Sources:, Corporation for National & Community Service

Young-Older Evangelicals Differ on Gay Issues

A survey of White Evangelicals:
25% - Abortion should be legal in most cases
46% - There should be limits on abortion rights
25% - Abortion should be completely illegal

A survey of White Evangelicals between 18-29:
26% - Gay couples should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals
37% - Support legal recognition of civil unions between gays
41% - There should be no legal recognition of relationships between gay couples
62% - Support John McCain
30% - Support Barack Obama
20% - Obama is more religious than McCain
48% - McCain is more religious than Obama

A survey of White Evangelicals over 30:
9% - Gay couples should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals
49% - There should be no legal recognition of relationships between gay couples
73% - Support John McCain
22% - Support Barack Obama
13% - Obama is more religious than McCain
55% - McCain is more religious than Obama

Source: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

The Love Dare

In the film Fireproof, star Kirk Cameron reads a book called the The Love Dare and it changes his live. Moviegoers have been asking where they can get a copy of the book. Originally, the devotional book was only a plot device. But the movie producers decided to go ahead and write something to be published. It was set to come out with the Fireproof DVD. However, demand was strong enough for The Love Dare at private showings that the publication was pushed forward to coinside with the film’s theatrical release.

The Love Dare is set up as a 40-day plan for revitalizing a struggling marriage. Each day starts with a Bible verse and a short lesson follows. Sales are strong at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. The book has already sold more than 6,000 copies and that does not include sales at places like Wal-Mart.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Church of Scientology in New Mexico

The Church of Scientology is asking the Albuquerque city council to allow the organization to move into a downtown building. KOB-TV reports.

Family Guy Takes on Jesus

Last night’s episode of Family Guy on the Fox Network had the main character (Peter) making friends with Jesus. The cartoon moved quickly into territory designed to offend Christians by portraying Jesus as a record store employee who becomes a Hollywood celebrity. After an appearance on the MTV awards with the Pussycat Dolls, fame gets to his head and he gets drunk and arrested. The Jesus characters says he’s not ready for the world and needs to mature.

Fireproof Burns Bright

Fireproof raked in $4.1 million this past weekend. So far, the movie has earning about $12.5 million. Made on a shoe-string for half-a-million dollars, Fireproof stars Kirk Cameron – best known for his role in Growing Pains during the 80’s. Some of the proceeds from the film will go to Camp Firefly, Cameron’s children’s charity. The company that put Fireproof together, Sherwood Pictures, is a small production house affiliated with Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

Critics have given the film mixed reviews from critics in the mainstream media. Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times wrote:

“Fireproof” may not be the most profound movie ever made, but it does have its
commendable elements, including that rarest of creatures on the big (or small)
screen: characters with a strong, conservative Christian faith who don’t sound

The film is in 839 theaters now and will expand to more than 1000 by the end of the week.

Abortion and the High Court

The Supreme Court began its fall term this morning and although the issue of abortion isn’t on the docket, it looms over the justices as a possible issue in the future. Opponents of Roe v. Wade believe they could be just one or two justices away from overturning the ruling that opened the door to legalized abortion in the US.

Three justices who stand by Roe could retire during the term of the next president. That includes Justice John Paul Stevens who is 88 years old, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is 75 years old and suffering from major health problems and Justice David Souter is pondering retirement.

As for the presidential candidates, they have widely different views on who they would appoint to the court.

Republican John McCain says he’ll nominate justices in the mold of President Bush's appointees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito

Democrat Barack Obama he "would not appoint somebody who doesn't believe in the right to privacy." That’s a legal linchpin for Roe v. Wade.

Santana Wants to be Priest

Carlos Santana says he’s going to become a priest in Maui, Hawaii in the next few years. The rock legend tells Rolling Stone magazine that religion helped him through last year’s divorce. He’s currently on tour, promoting his two-disc album Multi-Dimensional Warrior. The compilation of Santana songs from his 40-year career hits store shelves a week from tomorrow.

He says, "I'm not sick of what I do, but I find that God gave me the gift of communication even without my guitar and with the ability to get people unstuck with certain sections of the Bible having to do with guilt, shame, judgment and fear. The God of that stuff is retarded, demented and not real. The real God is beauty, grace, dignity and unconditional love. And I'm the kind of motivator who can motivate people to believe that what I'm saying is good for them. It's like my manager Bill Graham once said to me: 'Carlos, you have to accept that your music is very sensual and stop apologizing for it. People want to have sex to your music, and that's just the way that it is.' And once I accepted that, I wasn't so much in conflict with my Catholic upbringing and thinking it was dirty or against God to have an erection."